Article review writing: what are the main difficulties
For the reader, article reviews serve two primary functions: they are a summary of the source material as well as an evaluation of the source material writer’s work. For students who have been assigned an article review as a writing assignment, they are often intended to be an introduction to material on a certain topic.
What the Instructor Expects
Your instructor is looking for several things when he or she assigns an article review:
- Understanding of the material
- Ability to convey the main points of the article
- Ability to assess the writing of the source author
- Ability to write clearly and according to the stylistic conventions of your major
Usually, articles are assigned that come from reputable, peer-reviewed journals relevant to your field of study. Your instructor is probing to see whether or not you understand this higher level material.
Because part of your assignment will involve summarizing the article in question, your instructor will be assessing your review to be sure that you are able to express (accurately) the main points present in the source material.
In addition to understanding the main points of the article, you should also be able to offer an assessment of the source material. This includes both the content and the author’s writing style and ability. Being able to assess the content is paramount; it shows that you’re able to think critically, especially in regards to the topics related to your field of study.
Your instructor will be assessing your writing, in turn. This includes everything from formatting, spelling, and grammar to more abstract concepts like style and flow. Your instructor will also be checking your assignment to see whether or not you’ve followed their personal guidelines.
Tips for Writing a Good Article Review
- Don’t rush yourself
- Create a detailed outline for your article review, focusing on content
Read the article a day or two before you plan to write anything, at least once. Then, a few days later, read the article again, and make notes about its main points, any critical input you have on the source material, etc.
Including enough detail without going over the maximum word count is likely to be your greatest difficulty. A detailed outline can help enormously in this regard. Using your notes related to the main points of the summary, craft a detailed outline before writing your rough draft.